Los Angeles, California, USA – El Gran Tesoro de la Musica Cubana (The Great Treasure Trove of
Cuban Music) is a rare and revealing survey of artists and styles in one of the
world’s great sources of pop music, Los Angeles Times stated.
In the article “Decades of sounds reveal a musical treasure island,” a Los
Angeles Times writer reviews the six-CD boxed set issued on the occasion of
EGREM´s -the Spanish acronym for Musical Recording and Publishing Co.- 40th
anniversary.Offering a sweeping overview of the island’s astounding musical output over the
past six decades, the great Havana-based record company boasted its access to
the historic vaults of Cuban music, releasing this gem.
Vista Social Club became an international phenomenon,
compilations of Cuban music have become as commonplace as oldies collections in
the U.S. However, the producers seem to have gone out of their way to
avoid repetition by selecting tunes or versions hard to find elsewhere, says the
The collection, which includes a 68-page booklet, actually dates back 60 years,
starting with the founding of EGREM’s predecessor, Panart, the first Cuban-owned
label that competed against the powerful multinationals, especially RCA Victor.
Beyond being just the Motown of Cuba, EGREM does not specialize in a sound or a
certain subculture, but on Cuban music in general.
Anticipated classics come along with surprise rarities, such as a 1969 track by
the female vocal group Cuarteto D’Aida backed by
Van Van, a brash,
groundbreaking band that debuted that year.
Van Van, which would go on to become a leader among Cuba’s experimental, modern
dance bands, appears unexpectedly on another track, 1985’s “Imaginada,” backing
Silvio Rodriguez, the acclaimed poet and songwriter of the revolutionary era.
The cut is neither act’s best work, but it’s a collector’s gem, like a weird
Dylan song backed by the Beatles.
The CDs are organized chronologically rather than by genre, juxtaposing a
kaleidoscope of evolving styles.
Though the set adds up to more than six hours of music, it’s just a sampler of a
monumental national contribution to the annals of Latin music, the reviewer
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.